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MSU urges students not to return from spring break

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Posted at 11:11 AM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 13:42:59-04

BOZEMAN — Montana State University students are being urged not to return to campus or the community from spring break by the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education and MSU President Waded Cruzado.

The measures are precautionary and meant to slow the coronavirus disease, university officials said.

According to an email sent Wednesday night by MSU President Waded Cruzado, the decision as made with “the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff as our primary focus.”

Students can continue to attend classes via remote course delivery, or online.

“We ask that all students take this request very seriously. The spread of the virus will only become more severe in coming weeks if we are not able to stop the spread now,” the president’s email read.

“It is a known fact that people who have no symptoms can carry this disease. While you may feel perfectly fine, you may be a carrier. Each of us has a responsibility to prevent others from getting very sick.”

Here’s a copy of the email sent to students and staff:

Dear MSU Community,

I have important announcements to share with you in regard to the most recent precautionary measures for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). I kindly ask that you please read to the end of this email as well as check MSU COVID-19 webpage for FAQs and other information.

Tonight we have received guidance from the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education that applies to the entire Montana University System. This guidance is done in response to the increasing severity of the COVID-19 pandemic around the country and in Montana. These decisions are made with the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff as our primary focus.

REMOTE COURSE DELIVERY THROUGH END OF SPRING SEMESTERCourses and labs will continue to be delivered via distance, remote and online means through the end of the spring semester. There will be no classroom instruction.

In a very small number of specific and exceptional circumstances, where learning can only be achieved through hands-on methods (e.g., welding, off-campus nursing clinicals), in-person instruction will continue. In those situations, campuses will implement responsible social distancing and cleaning practices in order to promote a safe teaching and learning space.

*Note — If you are unclear about your courses, communicate with your instructor directly via email.

IF YOU HAVE ANOTHER HOUSING OPTION, PLEASE DO NOT RETURN TO CAMPUS AFTER SPRING BREAK. The Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education is strongly urging all students to not return to their campuses or campus communities from spring break.

This is a strong recommendation based on evidence that demonstrates the best way to slow the COVID-19 pandemic is to stop people from congregating in their communities and around the country.

We ask that all students take this request very seriously. The spread of the virus will only become more severe in coming weeks if we are not able to stop the spread now.

It is a known fact that people who have no symptoms can carry this disease. While you may feel perfectly fine, you may be a carrier. Each of us has a responsibility to prevent others from getting very sick.

*Note — To discuss your personal residence hall housing situation, please contact Residence Life at housing@montana.edu.

IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY LIVING ON CAMPUS, PLEASE CONSIDER A HOUSING ALTERNATIVE We understand that some students chose to remain in the residence halls for spring break. We urge those students to please find other, less-dense living arrangements for their own health and safety as well as that of others.

The higher density living of the residence halls is not recommended by health officials. As with the previous section for students that are currently off campus, this is a very hard, but necessary, message to transmit and we urge you to consider it.

*Note — To discuss your personal residence hall housing situation, please contact Residence Life at housing@montana.edu.

PERSONAL BELONGINGS OF ON-CAMPUS RESIDENCE LIFE STUDENTS Please do not return to campus to retrieve your belongings even if you live in Montana.

Residence Life will be communicating directly with students on how they can get their absolutely most essential items.

*Note — For other questions, or to discuss your personal situation, please contact Residence Life at housing@montana.edu.

STRICT SOCIAL DISTANCING ENFORCED ON CAMPUS To be clear, all campuses of the Montana University System are open and students who need to live on campuses will be able to do so, if absolutely necessary for their circumstances. But please, if you can disperse to less-dense living arrangements, do so.

For those students who must continue to live on campus because of their personal circumstances, social distancing will be enforced in the residence and dining halls.

MSU has closed all of its fitness facilities, including Marga Hoseaus, Brick Breeden Fieldhouse, and all residence hall fitness rooms.

The MSU Renne Library will be closed to patron visits. Students, faculty and staff can still use the library online from their homes and will be able to request audio-visual materials and book loans, if needed.

Finally, the Student Union Building will observe new hours of operation, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Sunday.

ALL BIG SKY CONFERENCE COMPETITIONS CANCELLED, PRACTICE SUSPENDED The Big Sky Conference announced today that all of its competitions and championships for the remainder of the 2020 spring sports season have been cancelled. In addition, practices and workouts for all teams in every Big Sky sponsored sport have been suspended. MSU Bobcat Athletics has closed the strength and conditioning facilities, weight rooms and other facilities relying on shared equipment. MSU Bobcat student-athletes maintain access to health care and academic services by appointment as well as all services available through digital methods.

I understand we are asking our students to take extraordinary measures, but these are extraordinary times. We face an unprecedented health crisis where our personal interests must come second to the health and safety of all of those around us. What is our goal? To welcome you — and every member of our community — as soon as possible, when you come back to Montana State.

I want for you to think that this is a challenge that we can accept and conquer together.

As Bobcats, I am counting on you.

Sincerely,

Waded Cruzado

President, Montana State University